If we should describe VersionPress in layman’s terms we would say it’s “the Undo button for WordPress”. The ability to revert anything and everything is the core feature of VersionPress and is actually quite smart compared to e.g. text editors. In this blog post, I’m going to show how it looks like and what it can do.
Let’s start by saying that VersionPress keeps track of every important action in a WP site and is definitely not restricted to just content or some selected areas. It can revert all kind of actions, some of which are quite advanced, for example:
- Content updates (new, updated or deleted posts and pages, comments, images etc.)
- Settings updates (site title, tagline, date format etc.)
- User changes
- Plugin installations and uninstallations
- Theme customizations
- Whole WP upgrades (for example, it can downgrade from WordPress 3.9 to 3.8 if needs be)
- … and generally everything that happens on a site
This means that WP admins can approach their sites with a whole new level of confidence. If anything goes ever wrong, it can be undone in a single click.
That takes us to how the UI looks like. (Note that the following screenshot is taken using the current prototype which is a very early preview and not yet polished. For example, the messages will use human friendly names instead of IDs.)
This screenshot shows a site where a couple of posts have been edited, some settings updated, new theme installed and customized etc. For each action, there is a line in a VersionPress log, and for every line except the newest one there are two actions available:
- To undo that specific action
- To revert (roll back) to a some previous state of a site
You can probably see how these things are both useful, just in a different way.
The “Undo this” functionality is used for instance when you install a new theme, do a couple of customizations to it and don’t like just one of them (for example, you don’t like the background color). So you’d just hit the Undo button and the background color will be back to its default, all other changes untouched. Note that this is something that e.g. MS Word cannot do – it cannot selectively undo actions from the past. VersionPress can.
The “Revert to this” functionality is a complete rollback of a site to some previous state. It is basically the same as clicking the Undo button for all the changes up until that historic revision. For instance, if you experiment with some new plugin, do a couple of changes to it but later decide that it was not a good choice, simply revert to the state before the installation and all the plugin files and database changes will be gone.
So hopefully that showed you how VersionPress can be useful for WP admins. We must admit that even we as creators are still amazed when we use the prototype on some of the test sites and see it do the reverts. This is such a useful thing that we can’t wait to share the working version with you.